Making its debut at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show was the Audi e-tron GT concept, a high-performance four-door coupé with all-electric drive.
The Los Angeles Auto Show at the end of November 2018 saw Audi presenting the fully electric-powered Audi e-tron GT concept car. With 434 kW (590 PS) and quattro permanent all-wheel drive, the car is claimed to accelerate from 0 to 62mph in around 3.5 seconds and has a top speed of 149mph while also being capable of achieving a range of over 248 miles (WLTP).
Although the four-door coupé made its debut as a show car, Audi Sport GmbH is tasked with transforming it into a series-production model, following on from the Audi e-tron SUV and the Audi e-tron Sportback that are slated for 2019, with initial deliveries of the e-tron GT expected to be made to customers in early 2021.
Flat, wide and long, with a 2.90-metre (9.5 ft) wheelbase, the Audi e-tron GT concept is 4.96 metres (16.3 ft) in length, 1.96 metres (6.4 ft) wide and 1.38 metres (4.5 ft) in height, with its lightweight body shell manufactured using a multi-material construction, comprising a roof section made from carbon along with numerous aluminium components and supporting elements made of high-strength steel.
Although developed in close Collaboration with Porsche, the overall design and character of the e-tron GT concept features unmistakable Audi DNA, with the gently sloping roofline extending well into the rear to echo the Sportback layout that is so typical of the brand, although the cabin tapers strongly toward the rear compared with current Audi models.
The wheel arches and shoulders are strongly sculptured and, together with the flat floor that is unusual for an electric vehicle, the low centre of gravity and the dynamic potential of the Audi e-tron GT concept is further enhanced. The broad lines and many functional elements of the body, as well as the air vents of the wheel arches and the solid rear diffuser, emphasise a low drag coefficient that reduces fuel consumption and minimises lift at high speed.
The sill area between the wheel arches has been drawn outwards, creating a distinctive contrast with the cabin and drawing the eye to the underfloor area where the battery – the energy centre of the Audi e-tron GT concept – is located.
The design of the 22-inch diameter wheels with their five twin spokes, shod with 285/30 tyres, is also clearly aligned to function as well as form, with their dynamic design providing optimum ventilation for cooling of the brake discs while also reducing drag.
The architecture of the hallmark Audi Singleframe grille is much more horizontal compared with the two e-tron SUVs, with its top half painted in body colour and its surface structure reminiscent of the typical honeycomb grille used on the Audi RS models, characterising the Audi e-tron GT concept as a future product of Audi Sport GmbH.
Together with the targeted airflow of the body, large air inlets in the front effectively cool the drivetrain assemblies, battery and brakes while the bonnet surface, echoing that of the Aicon and the PB18 e-tron, is designed such that the airflow hugs the body, reducing undesired swirl.
The arrow-shaped front section also emphasises the matrix LED headlights with laser high beam. As recently seen with several of the brand’s concept vehicles, the lighting is also animated to welcome the driver with a short function sequence, a wave of light extending horizontally to present a new visual signature that will soon find its way into series production.
A light strip running across the entire width of the rear dissipates at the outer edges, in the actual lighting units, into individual wedge-shaped LED segments, architecture that links the e-tron GT with the series-production SUV e-tron, making both instantly recognisable.
A new exterior colour called kinetic dust is a warm, dark colour similar to titanium. Depending on the incidence and movement of the light, it provides significant contrast between the body surfaces while matt, warm-tinted aluminium elements on the window aperture trim and rims emphasise these effects even further.
With four doors, the four-seat interior of the Audi e-tron GT concept provides a combination of everyday usability and a superb quality feel, with Sport seats in both front and rear providing optimum lateral support while cornering at speed.
The functional centre of the interior is clearly focused on the driver’s seat, with the centre console, the large touchscreen in the top section and the line from the door rail and cockpit frame providing perfect ergonomics, with the controls and the infotainment system of the Audi e-tron GT all readily accessible.
The centre console and the freestanding instrument cluster seem to float, while light colours in the top section of the cockpit and a gradually darker gradation through to the floor area create the impression of clear width. Both the screen of the central instrument and the touchscreen above the centre console come with a black-panel finish, underscoring the large, calm design of the interior with its predominantly horizontal basic architecture. Various layouts are available for the monitors to present the functions depending on the driver’s preference, including virtual instrument dials, easy-to-read navigation maps with clear information on the range, or various infotainment function menus, all controlled using a touch screen with tactile feedback.
With luggage compartments at both front and rear, the Audi e-tron GT concept offers a great many options for a Gran Turismo, making full use of its concept advantage as an electric automobile with compact drive units. The rear space with its large tailgate offers a load volume of up to 450 litres (15.9 cu.ft.) while there’s an extra 100 litres (3.5 cu.ft.) of luggage capacity under the front bonnet.
With separate permanently excited synchronous electric motors fitted to the front and rear axles, the total system power of 434 kW (590 hp) and considerable torque is transferred to the road using all four driven wheels thanks to the electric quattro system.
With no mechanical link between the front and rear axles, the electronic control system precisely co-ordinates the drive between the front and rear as well as between left and right wheels, providing optimum traction along with torque vectoring for just the desired amount of slip.
Consequently, the Audi e-tron GT should readily accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in around 3.5 seconds before reaching 124 mph in just over 12 seconds, while the top speed is regulated at 149 mph to maximise the range.
Moreover, the full potential of the maximum acceleration can be used several times in succession; thanks to its sophisticated cooling strategy, the Audi e-tron GT concept can provide the full potential of both motors and the battery on a repeated basis.
The range of the concept car is claimed to be over 248 miles, as determined according to the new WLTP standard, with the required drive energy coming from a 90 kWh lithium-ion battery which takes up the entire underfloor area between the front and rear axles.
A major advantage of this design is an extremely low centre of gravity – comparable with that of the Audi R8 – which in turn benefits dynamic handling, augmented by torque vectoring and all-wheel steering to provide a perfect synthesis of sports car agility and precision, as well as superb directional stability. Increasing the range by up to 30 per cent, the recuperation system involves both the two electric-motors and the electro-hydraulically integrated brake control system, combining three different recuperation modes. Manual coasting recuperation is controlled by using the shift paddles, automatic coasting recuperation is aided by the predictive efficiency assist, and brake recuperation is achieved with a smooth transition between electric and hydraulic deceleration.
Up to 0.3 g, which accounts for over 90 per cent of all decelerations, the Audi e-tron GT concept recuperates energy solely through the electric-motors, without using the normal braking system, so that energy is fed back to the battery in practically all normal braking situations.
The conventional braking system is involved only when the driver decelerates by more than 0.3 g using the brake pedal, in which case the Audi e-tron GT concept also features high-performance ceramic discs which are capable of coping with multiple extreme decelerations without compromising braking performance.
800-volt charging system
The battery can be charged either by using a cable which is connected behind the lap in the left front wing, or by means of contactless induction with Audi Wireless Charging. Here a charging pad with integral coil is installed permanently on the floor where the car is to be parked, and connected to the power supply. he alternating magnetic field induces an alternating voltage in the secondary coil fitted in the floor of the car, across the air gap. With a charging output of 11 kW the Audi e-tron GT concept can be fully charged conveniently overnight.
Wired charging is much faster as the Audi e-tron GT is fitted with an 800- volt system which substantially reduces charging times. Indeed, it takes only around 20 minutes to recharge the battery to 80 per cent of its capacity, which provides a range of more than 198 miles (WLTP). Although requiring longer charge times, the e-tron GT concept can also be recharged at points with lower voltages, providing access to the entire charging network.
Audi’s electric offensive
Audi launched its electric offensive with the world premiere of the all-electric SUV Audi e-tron in September 2018 and by 2025 it will offer 12 vehicles with all-electric drive in the most important markets worldwide, expecting to achieve roughly one-third of its sales with electrified models. The SUVs within this portfolio include the Audi e-tron and the Audi e-tron Sportback due to make its debut in 2019, and there will be a range of models with Avant and Sportback body styles to cover every relevant market segment from compact to the full-size class.
As well as the Audi e-tron GT another joint project of the development departments at Audi and Porsche is the Premium Platform Electric (PPE) which will be the foundation for many Audi model families with all-electric drive covering the high-volume B through D segments.
‘THE AUDI E-TRON GT SHOULD READILY ACCELERATE FROM 0 TO 62 MPH IN AROUND 3.5 SECONDS BEFORE REACHING 124 MPH IN JUST OVER 12 SECONDS…’
With the concept car the designers have deliberately chosen the use of sustainable materials. With no use of animal-based products, the Audi e-tron GT concept comes with a vegan interior. Sophisticated synthetic leather is used on the seats and other trim surfaces, while fabrics made from recycled fibres are used on the seat cushions as well as the armrests and on the centre console.
Microfibre material is used for the headlining and the trim of the window pillars and even the deep-pile floor carpet is made from sustainable Econyl yarn, a recycled fibre made from used fishing nets.
‘CONSIDERABLE TORQUE IS TRANSFERRED TO THE ROAD USING ALL FOUR DRIVEN WHEELS…’
‘THE FOURSEAT INTERIOR OF THE AUDI E-TRON GT CONCEPT PROVIDES A COMBINATION OF EVERYDAY USABILITY AND A SUPERB QUALITY FEEL…’
‘THE DESIGN OF THE 22-INCH DIAMETER WHEELS WITH THEIR FIVE TWIN SPOKES, SHOD WITH 285/30 TYRES, IS ALSO CLEARLY ALIGNED TO FUNCTION AS WELL AS FORM…’
Above: Single-frame grille of the e-tron GT is much more horizontally-biased than the two e-tron SUVs.
Above: e-tron GT made its debut at the LA Auto Show in November, due for delivery in early 2021.